If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.― Shauna Niequist
If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. — Michael Enzi
I feign fullness, but in reality I am achingly empty. And it is because I too often sit at the table of the world instead of the feet of God. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
SONGS about SHARING FOOD & ENJOYING LIFE:
- Common Table by Reuben Hollebon (folk rock): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w4pP_JmLSo
- Hands, Hands, Hands mealtime prayer song by Sacred Heart Montessori (Christian): https://youtu.be/ah_sAtYBZQA
- Thank God I’m a Country Boy by John Denver (country): https://youtu.be/QRuCPS_-_IA
- Bread and Butter by Newbeats (rock): https://youtu.be/S_Jzl_bx3fI
- Meanwhile Back at Mama’s ft Faith Hill & Tim McGraw (country): https://youtu.be/or-Lam5tPHc
- Feeling Good by Nina Simone (rock/blues): https://youtu.be/oHRNrgDIJfo
- Sugar, Sugar by the Archies (pop): https://youtu.be/h9nE2spOw_o
- Try Everything by Shakira (from Zootopia / pop): https://youtu.be/Bd2mU_BmVrs
- Where You Are from Disney’s Moana (musical): https://youtu.be/RTWhvp_OD6s
- Fast Food Folk Song by Rhett & Link (comic folk): https://youtu.be/-uwY3sjqYX0
- Too Much Food by Jason Mraz (rock): https://youtu.be/NN1S3OvYnPo
- Eat It by Weird Al Yankovic (rock comedy cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It): https://youtu.be/E8Nv5hWd-Js
- Carry Out by Timbaland (ft Justin Timberlake) (rap): https://youtu.be/NRdHsuuXxfk
- Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band (country): https://youtu.be/e4ujS1er1r0
- Thank You Lord for Your Blessings by Bill & Gloria Gaither (Christian/country): https://youtu.be/R9gEo0_Abc4
- Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Buckwheat Boyz (rap): https://youtu.be/eRBOgtp0Hac
- Coca Cola’s Great Meal (commercial ad/pop COVID anthem): https://youtu.be/vUMQeNw2QDA
- Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw (country): https://youtu.be/awzNHuGqoMc
The Thanksgivings — Harriet Maxwell Converse
We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here
to praise Him. We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered
that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products
to live on. We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
for our lands. We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming
from them for us all. We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
for our shelter. We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder
and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
that works for our good. We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank
all its trees. We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
the stars. We give Him thanks for our supporters,
who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant
occasion. We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music,
and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
on this occasion.
Table Blessing — Jan Richardson
To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
for one more.
And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
From the deserts
and from the hills
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.
We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.
And yet, to your table
Hungering for your bread,
thirsting for your wine,
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
O God of Wisdom,
SHARED MEAL: Commentary
Food feeds our souls. It is the single great unifier across all cultures. The table offers a sanctuary and a place to come together for unity and understanding. — Lidia Bastianich
The heart is cooking a pot of food for you. Be patient until it is cooked. — Rumi
The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift. — Laurie Colwin
There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table. ― E.A. Bucchianeri
It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and about the world. —Alice Waters
They all know the truth, that there are only three subjects worth talking about. At least here in these parts,” he says, “The weather, which, as they’re farmers, affects everything else. Dying and birthing, of both people and animals. And what we eat – this last item comprising what we ate the day before and what we’re planning to eat tomorrow. And all three of these major subjects encompass, in one way or another, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, the physical sciences, history, art, literature, and religion. We get around to sparring about all that counts in life but we usually do it while we’re talking about food, it being a subject inseparable from every other subject. It’s the table and the bed that count in life. And everything else we do, we do so we can get back to the table, back to the bed. ― Marlena De Blasi
Meals are significant because you are in close quarters with someone. Your hands are reaching into the same dishes. It is a clear act of welcoming, accepting, and befriending. It was the precise thing that you did not do with the social pariahs. It was the precise thing that the social outcast wanted: community. — Dave Dunham
You’ve spent the whole of your life filling your plate with the scraps that life has thrown your way. And even so, you feel horribly undeserving of these. But please understand that there is a glorious table generously spread with everything that you will ever need. And you might think about the fact that God sits at that very table staring at an empty chair that has your name on it. So, maybe you should step up and RSVP the God who is desperate to see you in that chair. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
A SEAT at the TABLE: Including Stakeholders
I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights. — Desmond Tutu
To share a table with someone is to share everything. ― Paul Krueger
A good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed—compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy—just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity. — Dalai Lama
No matter what message you are about to deliver somewhere, whether it is holding out a hand of friendship, or making clear that you disapprove of something, is the fact that the person sitting across the table is a human being, so the goal is to always establish common ground. — Madeleine Albright
All of your stakeholders have to have the right seat at the table, and they all have to be successful. It’s hard to do, but you have to keep your eye on developing a meaningful relationship where it is beneficial for them. Then you work backwards from there. —Brian France
If I am more fortunate than others I need to build a longer table not a taller fence. —Tamlyn Tomita
We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. ― Shauna Niequist
It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. — Franz Kafka
The best thing we can do for the poor is offer them a place of welcome and community. Our first priority in social involvement is to be the church, a community of welcome to, and inclusion of, the marginalized. This needs to go deeper than a warm handshake at the door. People are often unaware of how much the culture of their church is shaped by their social class. Someone at the door of a church, for example, may hand a newcomer a hymnbook, Bible, service guide, and bulletin with a smile and greeting without realizing how intimidating these can be to someone from a nonliterate culture. The social activities to which the poor are invited, the decision-making processes of the church, the unwritten dress codes, the style of teaching can all be alien to the marginalized. As a result, however warm the welcome, the poor can feel marginalized within the church just as they are outside. (Total Church, 81-82) — Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you? ― Rumi
We can reject everything else: religion, ideology, all received wisdom. But we cannot escape the necessity of love and compassion. This, then, is my true religion, my simple faith. In this sense, there is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. — Dalai Lama
Sometimes the love of God is 12 inches from being real, the distance from the head to the heart. — David Ivey
In the Bible, however, heart is not a symbol. It isn’t an internal organ in your body either… Heart is your conscience. It’s the status of your deepest feelings. It’s the truth of who you are. — Sarah Fisher
Which brings us all the way back to the Shema. Every day God’s people are called to devote to God their body and mind, their feelings and desires, their future and their failures. This is what it means to Love the lord your God with all your heart. — The Bible Project
Everybody has all three centers (head, heart, moving) in them… It’s only when you have balanced the three centers—kinesthetic moving center, emotional center, and intellectual center—and integrated them that you become conscious. — Cynthia Bourgeault
SONGS about LEV- HEART
- Shema by Misha Goetz & Shae Wilbur (Jewish contemporary): https://youtu.be/81HSXFtYMRs
- Lev Tahor-Pure Heart by Sarah Lieberman (Hebrew): https://youtu.be/UoTPtfrjztQ
- Yachad (Together) Lev el Lev (Heart to Heart) by World WIZO (Hebrew): https://youtu.be/-3Cuucch_Fs
SONGS about HEART
- Straight from the Heart by Bryan Adams (rock): https://youtu.be/-ebtjgK8NNU
- Heart of Gold by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (country/folk rock): https://youtu.be/YtNjTmSHltQ
- Here’s My Heart by Casting Crowns (Christian): https://youtu.be/qkSBmRAVXNc
- Follow Your Heart by the Scorpions (rock): https://youtu.be/tMui4IVW0BM
- Closer to the Heart by Rush (rock): https://youtu.be/kyhW2v0NDM0
- I Cross My Heart by George Strait (country): https://youtu.be/3IUlCNqAKKA
- Rebel Heart by Lauren Daigle (Christian): https://youtu.be/sufQX7NSX2k
- How Can We See That Far by Amy Grant (country/pop): https://youtu.be/nz-hXEKwVmw
- My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion (ballad): https://youtu.be/WNIPqafd4As
- Heart Full of Soul by Yardbirds (rock): https://youtu.be/pM1qZBFiOLU
- You’re In My Heart by Rod Stewart (ballad): https://youtu.be/Hf6ng1Hsb7I
- Whole Heart by Hillsong (Christian): https://youtu.be/eRUM70CPYls
- Owner of a Lonely Heart by YES (rock): https://youtu.be/SVOuYquXuuc
- Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart by Elton John (rock): https://youtu.be/z0qW9P-uYfM
- Groove Is In the Heart by Deelite (rock): https://youtu.be/y5tkqM2LS_w
- Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler (rock): https://youtu.be/lcOxhH8N3Bo
- Listen To Your Heart by Roxette (rock): https://youtu.be/yCC_b5WHLX0
- Heart of God by Hillsong (Christian): https://youtu.be/pRSC06T4lKs
- Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton (rock): https://youtu.be/P0DK-0fIKCw
There’s a morning when
presence comes over your soul.
You sing like a rooster
in your earth-colored shape.
Your heart hears and,
no longer frantic,
begins to dance.
At that moment,
soul reaches total emptiness.
Your heart becomes Mary,
and body like a two-day-old
Jesus says wisdom words.
Now the heart, which is the
source of your loving,
turns to universal light,
and the body picks up
the tempo and elegance
of its motion.
Where Shams-i Tabriz walks
the footprints become notations of music
and holes you fall through into space.
Blessing for a Whole Heart —Jan Richardson
You think if you could just imagine it,that would be a beginning;
that if you could envision what it would look like,
that would be a step toward a heart made whole.
This blessing is for when you cannot imagine.
This is for when it is difficult to dream of what could lie beyond
the fracture, the rupture, the cleaving
through which has come a life you do not recognize as your own.
When all that inhabits you feels foreign,
your heart made strange and beating
a broken and unfamiliar cadence,
let there come a word of solace,
a voice that speaks into the shattering,
reminding you that who you are is here,
every shard somehow holding
the whole of you that you cannot see
but is taking shape even now,
piece joining to piece in an ancient,
remembered rhythm that bears you not toward restoration,
not toward return—
as if you could somehow become unchanged—
but steadily deeper into the heart
of the one who has already
dreamed you complete.
- Lev/Heart by the Bible Project (animated video): https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/lev-heart/
- Shema in ASL by Rabbi Darby Jared Leigh https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDUU4vy2tmM
- Lev study: https://youtu.be/a-lN89Rz1Ig
- Lev/Heart (animated video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vx2fj-VKSHo
The Hebrew word often translated “heart” is the word lev, לב. Although lev is frequently translated as “heart,” it should be rendered “mind.” This information is actually very important for accurate reading of many Biblical texts. —Berkowitz, MBT Kids
In the Bible the heart is considered the seat of life or strength. Hence, it means mind, soul, spirit, or one’s entire emotional nature and understanding. The heart also is the primary source of such bad behavior as adultery, hatred, lust, mischief, pride, and rebellion as well as such neutral or good behavior as desire, doubt, fear, gladness, love, obedience, and sorrow. The heart is the organ that is said to have the ability to reason, question, meditate, motivate, and think. All of these mental processes in today’s world are normally associated with one’s mind or brain and not the heart (except metaphorically). God or the Lord is described as being able to know, search, enlighten, open, recreate, examine, strengthen, and establish one’s heart — not the mind. One can have a clean, contrite, perfect, pure, or wise heart, but those qualities are not biblically attributed to the mind. —Dr. Lorence G. Collins
“Heart” does not mean the emotions (though it includes our emotions). It refers to our inner orientation, the core of our being. This kind of “heart” is what Jesus was referring to when he told us to store up treasures in heaven instead of on earth, “for where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Matthew 6:21) This is the “heart” Jesus was worried about when he said “from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, unchastity, theft, false witness, blasphemy.” (Matthew 15:19) Jesus observed that our heart can get untethered from our actions: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8) Heart in this sense—the totality of our response—is the concern of the Spiritual Exercises. This is the ancient meaning of “heart” in biblical usage, but we actually retain traces of this meaning in contemporary English. When we say to someone “my heart goes out to you,” we mean something more than a feeling of concern. If said sincerely, it communicates a sense of solidarity with someone. It means more than “I understand” (our intellect). It means more than “I sympathize” (our feelings). It means something like, “I stand with you in this.” It is an expression of a fundamental choice. — David L. Fleming, SJ.
… biblical authors talk about the heart in many other ways that may seem strange to modern readers. That’s because the Israelites had no concept of the brain or any word for it. So they imagined that all of a human’s intellectual activity takes place in the heart. For example, you know with your heart; 5your heart is where you understand and make connections. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom dwells in the heart, and your heart is what you use to discern between truth and error. … So the heart is where you think and make sense of the world, but it does more. In the Bible, the heart is also where you feel emotions. You feel pain in your heart,… You also experience fear in your heart… Your heart can even be depressed.But on the flip-side, your heart is where you experience joy. … So the heart is the generator of physical life and also your intellectual and emotional life, but there’s more. In biblical Hebrew the heart is where you make choices motivated by your desires …Your heart is where your affections are centered; they’re called “the desires of your heart,” and if you really want something, you’ll go after it. …So then, in the Bible, the heart is the center of all parts of human existence.— Bible Project
This teaches us that the heart, that the love that it represents, can thrive, can flourish, only when there is a totality in connection. The Jewish heart, true love, represents a mind-to-mind, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, body-to-body, soul-to-soul connection. —Sara Esther Crispe
The Hebrew word for this part of us is “Levar” or “Lev – לב” for short. Although lev is frequently translated as “heart,” it really could also be translated “mind”. This word does not refer to the organ that pumps blood but rather it has Biblical meaning which most often refers to the control center of our lives. Today we might refer to the mind as the place where decisions are made. In the Bible Lev literally means the inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding. It is where we use what we know or understand, where we have thoughts and feelings in order to discern right from wrong. Lev also refers to feelings like joy, sadness, happiness, love. At times we make decisions based on these fleeting parts of us. — Chapel Hill Kids
In Hebrew, the holy language that holds the secret of all creative power, the word “heart” is written לֵב, a lamed (ל) followed by a bet (ב). Rabbi Abraham Abulafia, one of the greatest medieval Kabbalists explained that the word for “heart” in Hebrew, alludes to the physical form of the human heart: two (the numerical value of the letter bet-ב) lamed’s (ל) face-to-face. The Heart Understands Knowledge It is stated in the Midrash (Otiot d’Rabbi Akiva) that the name of the Hebrew letter lamed stands for Lev Meivin Da’at: “the heart that understands knowledge.” The same idea is expressed in the form of the letter lamed (ל), which depicts the aspiration of the heart to ascend to the highest level of consciousness, the understanding of knowledge. Knowledge (da’at) is the power of the soul which forges the connection between man and God, between man and his fellow, and especially between husband and wife… — inner.org
… the mistranslation of Lev as the figurative “heart” is replaced with Mind—the core of our mental reality…
- a) the non-figurative “lev” never meant the anatomical heart;
- (b) the figurative use of lev is, first and foremost, as the seat of rational thought, awareness, intent and reflection; and
- (c) by correcting the mistranslation of lev (replacing the excitable “heart” with the perceptive “mind”) the bible’s fundamental teaching about the soul, prophecy and transformation emerges dazzlingly from the text.
— Ethan Dor-Shav
Wisdom is a way of knowing that goes beyond one’s mind, one’s rational understanding, and embraces the whole of a person: mind, heart, and body. These three centers must all be working, and working in harmony, as the first prerequisite to the Wisdom way of knowing. —Cynthia Bourgeault
You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body. — C.S. Lewis
We see in Jesus that a physical life is a spiritual life. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
The secret of health for both mind and body is…live the present moment wisely and earnestly. — Gautama Buddha
All prayer disciplines are somehow trying to get mind, heart, and body to work as one, which entirely changes one’s consciousness. “The concentration of attention in the heart—this is the starting point of all true prayer,” wrote St.Theophan the Recluse (1815–1894,) a Russian monk, bishop, and mystic. Apart from Love, any other “handler” of your experience, including the rational mind or merely intellectual theology, eventually distorts and destroys the beauty and healing power of Wisdom. — Fr. Richard Rohr
You need the practice of mindfulness to bring your mind back to the body and establish yourself in the moment. If you are fully present, you need only make a step or take a breath in order to enter the kingdom of God. And once you have the kingdom, you don’t need to run after objects of your craving, like power, fame, sensual pleasure, and so on. Peace is possible. Happiness is possible. And this practice is simple enough for everyone to do. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Whether you are sick or well, lovely or irregular, there comes a time when it is vitally important to your spiritual health to drop your clothes, look in the mirror, and say, ‘Here I am. This is the body-like-no-other that my life has shaped. I live here. This is my soul’s address. After you have taken a good look around, you may decide that there is a lot to be thankful for, all things considered. — Barbara Brown Taylor
The main concept behind the mind-body-spirit connection is that we are all more than just our thoughts. We are also our bodies, our emotions, and our spirituality … all these things combine to give us identity, determine our health, and make us who we are. — Cooper University
What is saving my life now is the conviction that there is no spiritual treasure to be found apart from the bodily experiences of human life on earth. My life depends on engaging the most ordinary physical activities with the most exquisite attention I can give them. My life depends on ignoring all touted distinctions between the secular and the sacred, the physical and the spiritual, the body and the soul. What is saving my life now is becoming more fully human, trusting that there is no way to God apart from real life in the real world. ― Barbara Brown Taylor
Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age. — William Blake
Our ‘ministry’ is Word and Sacrament —everything else flows from that. We see a need, we fill it. We f*** up, we say sorry. We ask for grace and prayers when we need them (a lot). Jesus shows up for us through each other. We eat, we pray, we sing, we fall, we get up, repeat. Not that complicated. ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
Brene Brown’s 10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living are as follows:
- Cultivating Authenticity and Letting Go of What Other People Think
- Cultivating Self-Compassion and Letting Go of Perfectionism
- Cultivating Your Resilient Spirit, Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
- Cultivating Gratitude and Joy, Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
- Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith, Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
- Cultivating Creativity and Letting Go of Comparison
- Cultivating Play and Rest, Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
- Cultivating Calm and Stillness and Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
- Cultivating Meaningful Work, Letting Go of Self-Doubt and Supposed-To
- Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance. And Letting Go of Cool and Always in Control
Each guidepost is like a coin with two sides. On one side, it shares what to cultivate. And on the other, it instructs what to let go of. The two work hand-in-hand.
|There is no remedy for love but to love more.|
—Henry David Thoreau
The first two of these commandments —
love for God and love for our fellow humans —
are actualized through mitzvot, a system that shapes ideals
into behavior and is deepened through communal norms.
— Joanna Samuels
Love God. Love God with everything you are: heart, mind, soul, strength. Love God with your life. — Kathryn M. Schifferdecker,
|SONGS about AHAVA/LOVE |
Ahava by Yonina (ballad): https://youtu.be/XqDH6RH5jas
Love/Ahava by Daniel Jawahar (Indian pop Christian): https://youtu.be/x11r5-7ciQs
Ahavat Olam performed by Platt Brothers (Hebrew worship): https://youtu.be/1yhk_obX7CQ
Ahava by Liran Notik (pop): https://youtu.be/mVKAwm3uaqs
Love Ahava by Everything Worship (Christian): https://youtu.be/Xy50VuvdYqM
Ahava Ka’zo (A Love Like This) by Idan Raichel (pop ballad): https://youtu.be/zkyorHkaJUA
Shir Ahava Bedui (A Bedouin Love Song) by David Broza (folk rock): https://youtu.be/z5mCVtcc8Hg
Some Love / Kama Ahava by Kobi Peretz (pop): https://youtu.be/XkpdFicK5As
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) performed by The Voice of One Calling (Hebrew/Arabic Christian): https://youtu.be/ZHW0uTpzsCM
Shema by Misha Goetz & Shae Wilbur (Jewish contemporary): https://youtu.be/81HSXFtYMRs
Shir Ahava (Love Song) performed by David Seguin (Hebrew Christian worship): https://youtu.be/UEX83Irhag4
SONGS about LOVE
Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane (rock): https://youtu.be/5Jj3wZVc7nw
All You Need is Love by The Beatles (rock): https://youtu.be/_7xMfIp-irg
I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton (country): https://youtu.be/lKsQR72HY0s
Love Is All performed by Playing for Change children’s choir (pop anthem): https://youtu.be/q4T37EaW4eU
Lean on Me by Bill Withers (rock): https://youtu.be/qkaexjc-1os
What’s Love Got to Do with It? by Tina Turner (rock): https://youtu.be/oGpFcHTxjZs
Vision of Love by Mariah Carey (pop ballad): https://youtu.be/tov22NtCMC4
The Book of Love by the Magnetic Fields (rock ballad): https://youtu.be/jkjXr9SrzQE
That’s How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding (rock ballad): https://youtu.be/l7T9HKmERv0
I Say a Little Prayer by Aretha Franklin: https://youtu.be/7Ifw8JhDBvs
Cheek to Cheek by Ella Fitzgerald (ballad): https://youtu.be/GeisCvjwBMo
It Had to be You by Harry Conick Jr (jazz): https://youtu.be/_UnQOfPwZfs
Love Is the Most Ancient Law: A Blessing — Jan Richardson
Open to it and you will know
how love is its own blessing
and most ancient of laws.
Pursue it entirely
with everything in you—
your heart (all)
your soul (all)
your mind (all).
Spend it all—
this love so generous
this love that goes out
to each it finds
this love that gives itself
in lavish and unimagined measure
everywhere and to all—
yourself not least.
* Ahava / Love by the Bible Project (animated video): https://bibleproject.com/explore/video/ahavah-love/
* Agape / Love by the Bible Project (animated video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slyevQ1LW7A
The greatest commandment is to love God and the best way I know to love God is to love what God loves—which is everything! Surely this is the way that Jesus loves. To love as Jesus loves, we too must be connected to the Source of love. … If you don’t live from within your own center of connection and communion with God, you’ll go spinning around many other things. The true goal of all religion is to lead you back to the place where everything is one, to the experience of radical unity with all of humanity and all of creation, and hence to the experience of unity with God, who is the Great Includer of all else… — Fr. Richard Rohr, Center for Action & Contemplation, https://cac.org/radical-simplicity-2020-06-29/
Love God. Love God with everything you are: heart, soul, strength. Love God with your life (perhaps a better translation than “soul,” since Israel didn’t conceive of a disembodied soul). Many scholars would say that “love” here is not primarily an emotion. They point to examples of political treaties known from the ancient Near East. To “love” one’s sovereign in these ancient political covenants was to be loyal to him … Such ancient political treaties are undoubtedly in the background of this passage. To “love” God as one would “love” a human sovereign entails primarily action, not emotion. To love is to be faithful and loyal in fulfilling the obligations of the covenant … Still, there is another realm of life in which the language of love and covenant abounds. The metaphor of marriage, though not as explicit in Deuteronomy as in other biblical books, provides a central biblical paradigm for understanding the relationship of God and Israel. — Kathryn M. Schifferdecker, https://www.workingpreacher.org/commentaries/revised-common-lectionary/ordinary-31-2/commentary-on-deuteronomy-61-9
The laws are made for us, not us for the laws… We do not serve a distant God, but one who actually cares about how you treat people and how you are treated. People matter. Relationships matter. The dignity of human beings matters. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
The ancient Hebrew word “ahava” that is often translated as “love” in the Bible has a unique meaning too. Sadly, this amazing Hebrew word is hidden behind the nonchalant English term that everyone uses for everything. Love or “ahava” in the Hebraic mind is very different in today’s culture. In the Hebrew, love is connected directly with action and obedience. Strong’s Exhaustive Dictionary defines ahava as “to have affection, sexually or otherwise, love, like, to befriend, to be intimate.” It brings to mind the idea of longing for or breathing for another. Hebraically ahava is a verb and a noun, it is an act of doing. Ahava is not just a feeling. To get a clear understanding of ahava, let’s examine the Hebrew word itself and learn how to love Hebraically. — Daniel Rendelman, https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Hebrew-Word-Study–Ahavah.html?soid=1101268607427&aid=aDzDQxelEmk
Ahava: This is Commitment Love. It is a ferocious love. We describe this as the, I’m-not-going anywhere kind of love. It is when you say, “I know that I’ll mess up, but you’ll still be there for me” kind of love.” It is not, “I will be with you for as long as you make me feel good, but once you are dull, mean, rude or old then see you later.” This is the primary kind of love that God has for his children. Ahava anchors you down to the one you love. — Charles Schuman, https://www.fortgordonnews.com/articles/true-definition-of-love-given-by-god/
Whereas other biblical nouns and verbs convey a particular type of love, such as ion (hesed) which often designates kindness and loyalty, or p^n (hesheq), which denotes desire or passion, nnx (ahv, verb) is employed in a wide variety of social, political, and spiritual contexts. Ahv and ahavah (noun) occur over 200 times in biblical narratives and poetry. They convey notions of attachment, passion, affection, preference, loyalty, and yearning. — https://what-when-how.com/love-in-world-religions/ahavah/
Taken together the command to love God with all our heart, soul, and might seems clearly to encompass every aspect of our being as well as all of our exertions of energy. All of our lives, all of our identity. And all of our actions. All of who we are, our gifts, our capacities to act. And not just a portion, a slice. All. Every last capacity. No part of our lives is to be segmented apart from full devotion to God, to obey and follow His precepts. This is the path to the greatest blessing … God will not compel their love. True love requires choice. Coerced relationship is abuse. God is love. With the clear direction of what path is in their best interest, God provides freedom. Freedom is the ability to choose …
One Today — Richard Blanco
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches
as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello / shalom,
buon giorno / howdy / namaste / or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together
AHAVA: Meditations on Holy Love & Human Love
Ahava Love is the risky, vulnerable, uninsured act of donatng what I prize most. Me. — Steven Daugherty
Love is unselfishly choosing for another’s good. — CS Lewis
The only way I know how to teach anyone to love God, and how I myself can love God, is to love what God loves, which is everything and everyone, including you and including me! — Fr. Richard Rohr
… according to Ahava, the woman described in Proverbs 31 is not some ideal that exists out there; she is present in each one of us when we do even the smallest things with valor. ― Rachel Held Evans
What was new and remarkable in the Bible was the idea that love, not just fairness, is the driving principle of the moral life. – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
As we perform these acts of love, they form in us a new memory — not of our vulnerability or nostalgia, but of our capacity to act. These mitzvot of love will become, we hope, as familiar as our established mitzvot already are. They hold open the invitation, always, for depth, intention, and truth.— Joanna Samuels
le’ehov ze klum, lihiot ne’ehav ze mashehu, aval le’ehov velihiot ne’ehav ze hakol לאהוב זה כלום. להיות נאהב זה משהו. אבל לאהוב ולהיות נאהב זה הכל. To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved is everything. — Saying in Hebrew, unattributed
Most of us were taught that God would love us if and when we change. In fact, God loves you so that you can change. What empowers change, what makes you desirous of change is the experience of love. It is that inherent experience of love that becomes the engine of change. ― Fr Richard Rohr
ahava hi kmo ruach, yi efshar lirot ota, akh nitan lehargish ota אהבה היא כמו רוח, אי אפשר לראות אותה, אך ניתן להרגיש אותה. Love is like the wind, you can’t see it, but you can feel it. — Saying in Hebrew, unattributed
We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family. ― Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The first element of true love is loving kindness. The essence of loving kindness is being able to offer happiness. You can be the sunshine for another person. You can’t offer happiness until you have it for yourself. So build a home inside by accepting yourself and learning to love and heal yourself. Learn how to practice mindfulness in such a way that you can create moments of happiness and joy for your own nourishment. Then you have something to offer the other person. ― Thích Nhất Hạnh
Jesus has loved his followers so that they may love each other. Love calls for love in turn. Love makes love imperative. — Allen Dwight Callahan
And only when we see ourselves and others as Jesus’ friends is it possible to love with the heart of God. … then all other competing claims about who we are simply melt away. You are no longer male or female, Jew or Greek, gay or straight, urban or suburban, republican or democrat, rich or poor you are simply the one whom Jesus loves. You are the beloved disciple. You are the one whom Jesus has called friend. And this unchangeable and unassailable identity you have as the one whom Jesus loves is the basis by which you too are afforded the honor of being loved by others as Jesus’ Friend. For you are who Christ chose and named as such. And nothing else gets to tell you who you are. — Nadia Bolz-Weber
Every morning, my father and I would get up early and say the prayers. Today, when I say these prayers, I wonder how I could have said that then? It was hypocrisy. It was a lie to say there that our God is a God of mercy. There is a sentence, Ahava rabbah Ahavtainu, with great love You have loved us; what great love You have given us and You loved us, and Your compassion was not only great but excessive. There? Yet we said it. — Eli Wiesel, Night, holocaust survivor
We continue to live in a fractured world filled with sinat hinam (baseless hatred), which each of us has an individual responsibility to counter with ahavat hinam (baseless love). The first step to repairing the world is for more of us to re-imagine it, particularly in relating to the other. Through acceptance, respect, and love, we invite the other in to share a safe space where we can become our best selves together. — Rabbi Yehoshua Looks
… abounding with ahava and shalom, love and peace, and a year made complete by the purpose to serve one another in joy. — Rabbi Max Miller
Sometimes the love of God is 12 inches from being real, the distance from the head to the heart. — David Ivey
… When I came to the Buddhist article in that issue of Parabola, I was struck by how similar to ‘agape’ is the word ‘metta’ from the ancient Pali language of India. The author, the Buddhist monk, Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi, said the closest he could come to an English translation of ‘metta’ is ‘loving-kindness.’ … — Bob West
Christ’s message is one of pure love. Loving for the sick, the poor, the oppressed that is what we are called to do … Christ has commanded us to show this love to every single human being on this planet.
… Our goal must be to, as Pope Francis has said, be a field hospital for those in a battle that rages all around us. The battle goes on in the form of war, famine, poverty, persecution, and it is our job to show the love of Christ to those afflicted. We are to walk alongside those who are walking down rough pathways in their lives…. Instead, we must have as a first goal to love and help each individual on earth … — Devan, religion student, Emory and Henry College
I Did Think, Let’s Go About This Slowly
— Mary Oliver
I did think, let’s go about this slowly.
This is important. This should take
some really deep thought. We should take
small thoughtful steps.
But, bless us, we didn’t.